I just changed the battery in my bike computer and it dawned on me just how much electronics travel with me when I ride.

mmm... the crisp readout of a fresh battery

The one that brought it to mind of course, was the CAT EYE bike computer.  While it does all the nifty tracking like average speed, highest speed, total miles… you name it.  The real use for me is to glance down (it’s mounted on my handlebars) and see how fast I am going right now.  All that other stuff doesn’t concern me until I get home and dig into the stats.

The next big thing is the iPhone running the MapMyRide app.  It plots the course I took, allows me to compare my times over the same course and thus, race against my earlier scores.  It also tracks elevation.  I know it shouldn’t be so interesting to me, but even when I ride a route I have done dozens of times, I find myself tapping the Climbs tab just to see that visual representation of my elevation changes.  The other thing that it does is allow me to report when I ride to the world.

To a lot of people that probably sounds like a waste, but I think there is great motivation in knowing that someone is “watching” what I do.  It has gotten me out on the bike more than once.

The other things that make the iPhone the uber-gadget for cycling is that a) I can listen to audiobooks, radio, my music collection… you name it while riding and b) I can record thoughts and observations (like my BIKECast from the other day) and c) I can snap photos of anything that catches my eye.  Oh yeah… I can take phone calls – as an entrepreneur, this is BIG.  I can fit in some cycling but still be in touch (when I want) with my clients.

Another gadget that goes with every time is my Polar heart rate monitor.  Again, it is probably overkill, but I like it.  I mean, I am not training hard for a race like the old days, but it is interesting to me to try to guess my heart rate based on perceived exertion.   After 25 years of riding, I have gotten to where I am always within 1 or 2 BPM when I guess.  Again, there is something comforting about being able to glance at my wrist and see more stats.

A lot of my electronics are dated… the cycling computer is about 8 years old, the heart rate monitor is easily 5 years old and the iPhone is about two years old.  I am sure there are gadgets and gizmos that combine or integrate a lot of this data in one place by now, but for now I am happy.

What do you use when you cycle, run, exercise etc.?